Disc herniation is a common medical condition, affecting approximately 5 to 20 cases per 1000 adults yearly. It often occurs in the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back), causing numerous uncomfortable and painful symptoms.
The C5 and C6, spinal motion segments, are the most common regions for herniated discs. These two vertebrae are located in the lower section of the cervical spinal canal. In a car accident, the sudden impact causes the cervical discs between your vertebrae to slip or rupture.
The displaced spinal disc can exert pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord, leading to pain or numbness in the body. The pain’s intensity could range from mild to severe or life-threatening, depending on the severity of herniation.
Victims of C5 C6 disc herniation may seek compensation in a personal injury claim. Personal injuries refer to physical and mental injuries, as well as property damage resulting from another person’s negligence.
Suppose you suffered from a disc herniation after getting hurt in a car accident. You may hold the negligent party responsible for the harm and resulting losses you incurred under tort law. This legal framework enables injured victims to seek relief from liable parties through financial compensation.
In the following sections, we’ll walk you through your legal options for herniated discs C5 and C6 injuries. Moreover, we’ll explain how an experienced lawyer can help you.
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Recognizing the Common Symptoms of Herniated Discs C5 and C6
The cervical spine contains seven vertebral bodies stacked on top of each other and numbered C1 through C7. Between each vertebra, an intervertebral disc cushions the bones and facilitates movement and flexibility of the spinal column.
Each spinal disc has two components that prevent the cervical vertebrae from grinding together. The annulus fibrosus makes up the outer layer of the disc. Its primary function is to contain and protect the soft, jelly-like substance inside the disc, known as the nucleus pulposus.
If a disc herniation occurs, the inner jelly protrudes through a crack caused by a tear or injury in the disc’s outer layer. As a result, two cervical vertebrae may rub against each other, causing spinal cord compression and increased pressure on the spinal nerve roots.
Herniated disc symptoms vary significantly depending on the location and size of the herniation. The following are the common symptoms of cervical disc herniation in the C5 C6 region:
- Neck pain: Disc herniation can exert pressure on the C5 C6 nerve roots, causing neck pain ranging from mild tenderness to piercing discomfort. Typically, you can feel pain in the upper back or side of the neck.
- Neck stiffness: Muscles in the neck may become stiff and tight due to compression in the herniated disc. This pain and inflammation can restrict neck movements, affecting your range of motion.
- Radicular pain: Affected C5 C6 nerve roots can cause cervical radiculopathy or pinched nerves. This condition may cause severe arm pain accompanied by numbness and tingling radiating from the deltoid muscles or shoulders down to the hands and fingers.
- Muscle weakness: C5 C6 nerve roots are responsible for many sensory and motor functions of the arm. Compression on these nerves causes weakness in the anterior muscles of the upper arms and the wrist extensor muscles.
Symptoms of a cervical herniated disc are similar to other neck injuries. Hence, getting a proper diagnosis from a medical practitioner is advisable, so you can understand your injury’s nature, location, and severity accurately.
Understanding Legal Options for Herniated Discs C5 and C6 After a Car Accident
Treatment options for cervical disc herniation may differ depending on the injury’s nature and other factors.
Initially, doctors suggest conservative treatment, such as chiropractic care, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and epidural steroid injections. But cervical spine surgery may be necessary if symptoms persist and don’t respond to nonsurgical treatment for six months.
The treatment costs for disc herniation can accumulate quickly, leading to significant medical expenses. Additionally, injured victims may miss several months of work while dealing with chronic pain and costly medical bills. They may also suffer from permanent disability and loss of employment.
Did you sustain a C5 C6 disc herniation in a car accident caused by a negligent driver? You can hold the responsible party accountable through an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, you must first understand your legal options and their potential outcomes before pursuing compensation for your herniated discs C5 and C6 injury.
Filing a personal injury claim
Your first option in securing compensation for disc herniation is to file a personal injury claim. The process of filing a claim will depend on the fault laws applicable in your state.
In at-fault states, you can make a herniated disc claim on the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Meaning the at-fault driver’s liability coverage will pay for the damages related to the incident and your injuries.
However, this option is only valid if the other party carries insurance to cover the accident. Suppose the at-fault driver is uninsured. You may have to pay the costs with your money or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
Meanwhile, no-fault states require you to file a disc herniation claim with your insurance company. Regardless of who is at fault, each party’s personal injury protection (PIP) will cover their injuries and losses.
After you file a claim with the appropriate insurance company, they will investigate the accident and determine liability. After the investigation and documentation of damages, you’ll receive offers from the insurance adjuster.
At this point, you can either reject, accept, or make a counteroffer. The settlement negotiations between you and the insurer will start. If both parties agree on fair compensation, the case will be settled.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit
Although most herniated disc cases resolve out of court, some may require legal action for numerous reasons. For instance, the liable party and their insurer could deny your claim or refuse to negotiate in good faith.
In other cases, the damages and costs of the herniated disc injury may exceed the insurance company’s policy limits. In these circumstances, filing a personal injury lawsuit is reasonable to obtain compensation.
But it’s worth noting that personal injury lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming, lasting several months and even years. Likewise, there’s no assurance the outcome of a lawsuit will be in your favor. Additionally, no-fault states may only allow you to sue the other party under specific circumstances, such as when you meet the injury threshold.
How can a lawyer help with your herniated C5 and C6 disc injury?
The financial consequence of an accident caused by another person’s negligence should not fall on the injured party. Moreover, when pursuing compensation, it is vital to prove someone was negligent and their actions resulted in harm.
Establishing fault can be challenging to accomplish for a non-lawyer without legal knowledge. There’s an increased possibility of overlooking critical details that could strengthen the case. Moreover, it’s easy to make mistakes that could hurt one’s right to total compensation.
Unfortunately, many forgo hiring an attorney due to the high legal costs. But you can always find a lawyer who accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. Meaning you don’t have to pay the lawyer’s fees upfront. You only have to pay if they succeed.
Suppose you lose the case. The attorney gets no payment. However, you’re still responsible for paying court expenses and other costs.
Are you still unsure if retaining the services of a lawyer will benefit you? Here are some ways an experienced attorney can help you after sustaining a herniated disc in a car accident.
Establish negligence and liability
Establishing liability requires proving the other person was negligent in some way. One way to do this is by demonstrating they had a duty of care toward you.
Since all motorists have a legal obligation to drive with reasonable care, the element of duty of care already exists in car accidents. However, to succeed in a negligence claim, you must show the driver breached their legal responsibility and caused the accident and resulting injuries.
Violating traffic rules is one example of a breach of duty of care. However, you’ll need sufficient evidence to prove the driver’s negligence caused or contributed to your cervical disc herniation.
An experienced lawyer can help collect the necessary evidence and use them to hold the other party liable for your herniated discs C5 and C6 injury.
Assess the extent of your damages
The recoverable compensation for a herniated disc injury depends on the case details and the injury’s severity. For instance, victims suffering from loss of bladder control and paralysis are more likely to get higher compensation than those suffering from a sprained muscle.
Due to their severity, serious herniated disc injuries will require comprehensive treatment and more time to recover. They may result in ongoing pain, discomfort, and restricted mobility, making it harder for victims to return to work and engage in everyday activities. As a result, compensation is usually higher.
Understanding the factors affecting the value of your disc herniation claim is crucial before negotiating with an insurer. However, it’s hard to assess the approximate value of a herniated disc injury without the assistance of an experienced attorney.
A lawyer can give you better insights into determining compensation. Besides your medical bills and other economic losses, they will look into non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Maximize your financial recovery
Insurance companies will often avoid paying claims or reduce the amount of compensation. Even with medical proof, you’ll likely face obstacles as the insurer uses any uncertainties to their advantage.
A competent personal injury lawyer knows how to counter the following arguments and maximize your financial recovery.
Insurers may argue that your cervical herniated disc existed before the incident to limit your compensation. Using the Eggshell Skull Rule, a lawyer can protect you from receiving less monetary compensation than you deserve.
Suppose you have a pre-existing herniated disc injury. An attorney can help prove that the accident worsened your pre-existing condition and caused the resulting damage.
The insurer may also argue that you were not severely injured as you claim. This defense would hold strength and basis if the accident occurred in no-fault states with a serious injury threshold. But an experienced lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove the permanence and extent of your injury.
Timing of medical treatment
X-rays or CT scans cannot accurately diagnose disc herniation. To verify a diagnosis of a herniated disc injury, you’ll need to wait a few days after you seek medical attention. Insurers may argue that this delay caused your permanent injury, not the accident.
An experienced lawyer will work with expert witnesses to show and link your injury to the accident. They will ensure that your medical diagnosis and treatment are timely and substantiate your claim.
Did you know?
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), approximately 75 to 85 percent of Americans suffer back pain, and disc herniation is one of the leading causes.
Find a Personal Injury Lawyer for Your Herniated Disc Case
Did you or a family member sustain a herniated discs C5 and C6 from an accident? No monetary amount can alleviate the pain you’re experiencing. But seeking compensation from the liable party can help you cover the costs associated with your injury.
Understanding the evidence and the applicable laws for your case is crucial when claiming compensation. Thus, having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can be invaluable for the success of your claim.
At The Personal Injury Center, we offer a free case evaluation and can connect you with a reliable attorney who can provide the legal representation you need. Contact us today to discuss your legal situation and needs in detail.
Obtain fair settlement for disc herniation after a car accident. Visit The Personal Injury Center for legal assistance.
FAQs on Herniated Discs C5 and C6
Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to develop a herniated disc. Others may develop it due to poor posture and spinal wear and tear from everyday living.
But most cases of disc herniation result from experiencing serious physical trauma and a single excessive injury. Examples of these may include:
- Slips and falls
- Lifting an object too heavy
- Improper lifting techniques
- Physically demanding jobs
- Recreational and sports activities
The recovery time for herniated discs C5 and C6 depends on the severity and extent of herniation. Other factors like the victim's health, age, and activity level may also affect the healing period.
On average, herniated discs may take up to twelve weeks to fully heal after the injury. However, each case is unique, and the recovery length depends on a person’s circumstances.
The amount for a herniated disc C5 and C6 settlement can vary significantly, depending on the severity of injuries, length of recovered period, and resulting losses. But the average herniated disc settlement amount from a car accident is approximately $360,000.